The Sims Bustin' Out

Review

posted 2/11/2004 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: Xbox
Thanks to the good folks at Maxis I’ve been in contact with each and every iteration of the Sims. I’ve taken them on vacation, took them on hot dates, made some magic with them, unleashed some pets, threw a house party, lived large and even became a superstar. One thing that I haven’t been able to do though is to bust out with my Sims, but now I can thanks to the franchise’s second appearance in the console realm. While everything isn’t as fresh and as new as it was the first time around I concede that Bustin’ Out is a worthy follow up to The Sims that will do well to satisfy the fans of the original.

It doesn’t try to do anything terribly different from the first game nor does it need to. If you’ve played any of the Sims games before you can jump right in without hesitation. Like before console gamers are given a bit of structure and direction, something seriously lacking in the open-ended PC version. The main game mode, bust out, gives you goals and tasks to accomplish as you play through the game. Accomplishing these goals and advancing in life will yield new rewards such as furniture and better living conditions. Like the previous console entry, I welcome this mode with open arms because it adds some much-needed structure to the game.

In addition to the new storyline the gameplay seems to have been reworked a bit. My favorite change occurs when there are a number of items in the vicinity of the cursor. Instead of having to poly hunt and click on the exact object that you want to interact with you can bring up a menu that lets you choose the item that you want to play with. So let’s say you’re in the kitchen and someone’s standing right next to the fridge. Before you’d have to click precisely on the fridge in order to interact with it, now you can click in the general area and a menu will pop up with the fridge and the name of the person standing near it. Simply pick the fridge and you’re on your way, no more fidgeting around until you lose your nerve.

It also appears that Sims are less reliant on the player now. One of the largest complaints from the series is that the player has to spend too much time babysitting their Sims. Now Sims will do the appropriate actions to fulfill their motives (the little happiness meters) with very little provocation on your part. Speaking of the motives, it appears that they still filled longer and actually fill up faster than before. This allows you to spend more time playing around instead of wasting time catering to the Sims needs. Overall the game is much more streamlined this time around and is much more fun to play.

Most of the fun comes from the sheer amount of actions that you can do. While last year’s game featured a healthy variety of actions this second iteration adds even more of them. Best of all, there are a bunch of really entertaining ones that really fit well into the context of the game. Before you could only talk or tell jokes in order to improve relationships, now you’ll be able to do funny things like asking a Sim to pull your finger (complete with large toxic cloud) or burping in their face. Like the furniture, when you progress through the game you’ll unlock even more actions.
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